It requires courage
to unzip the funerary packets.
I feel queasy—these remain
of mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
The tree blooms in the other world now,
while its shadow lengthens here.
I gather up fragments—
a grease-stained letter, an illegible postcard.
I finger a burnt photo of my mother.
How apprehend this laughing girl?
How answer her mischievous smile?
Here, the living must suffice.
Across the open album, my fingertips
dabble in the alchemy of memory,
evoke fragrances long forgotten.
Pattern and rhythm, cached in the limbic cells,
spill onto the pages.
I study the layout while I clean house.
Petty differences shall be forgotten,
and what is not petty, given love?
Sometimes it takes days.
When I take up the glue,
the postcard will be transcribed,
the photo restored,
and the letter answered.